TCI Network
15 December 2018

This monthly selection of articles has been carried out by Philippe Gugler and Damiano Lepori, the Center for Competitiveness, University of Fribourg.

The entire selection, carried out since 2013, can be consulted on the academic articles page of our web.



Why do industries coagglomerate? How Marshallian externalities differ by industry and have evolved over time

By: D. Diodato, F. Neffke , N. O’Clery. Journal of Urban Economics, Vol. 106, pp. 1-26, 2018.

Abstract: “The fact that firms benefit from close proximity to other firms with which they can exchange inputs, skilled labor or know-how helps explain why many industrial clusters are so successful. Studying the evolution of coagglomeration patterns, we show that the type of agglomeration that benefits firms has drastically changed over the course of a century and differs markedly across industries. Whereas, at the beginning of the twentieth century, industries tended to colocate with their value chain partners, in more recent decades the importance of this channel has declined and colocation seems to be driven more by similarities in industries’ skill requirements. By calculating industry-specific Marshallian agglomeration forces, we are able to show that, today, skill-sharing is the most salient motive behind the location choices of services, whereas value chain linkages still explain much of the colocation patterns in manufacturing. Moreover, the estimated degrees to which labor and input-output linkages are reflected in an industry’s coagglomeration patterns help improve predictions of city-industry employment growth.” [ABSTRACT FROM AUTHORS]


Knowledge integrators and the survival of manufacturing clusters

By: G. Buciuni􏰀, G. Pisano. Journal of Economic Geography, doi:10.1093/jeg/lby035, pp. 1-21, 2018.

Abstract: “Over the past two decades, the greater prevalence of global supply chains has had contrasting effects on Western manufacturing clusters. While some of them dwindled, others proved resilient. Contributing to the recent literature on co-located clusters and clusters’ linkages, we focus on the impact of lead firms’ strategies on the competitiveness of a pair of ‘twin’ clusters located in Northeast Italy. Our findings suggest that production remains ‘sticky’ when leading firms pursue ‘process- embedded’ innovation by integrating global market and local technical knowledge. We refer to this type of firm as a Knowledge Integrator and discuss how its strategy supports the competiveness of localized suppliers.” [ABSTRACT FROM AUTHORS]


Geographic Proximity and Science Parks Department of Economics Working Paper Series

By: A. N. Link, J. T. Scott. University of North Carolina at Greensboro, Working Paper No. 18-04, 2018.

Abstract: “Science parks, also called research parks, technology parks, or technopolis infrastructures, have increased rapidly in numbers as many countries adopted the approach of bringing together in a park research-based organizations. A science park’s cluster of research and technology-based organizations is often located on or near a university campus. The juxtaposition of ongoing research of both the university and of the park tenants creates a two-way flow of knowledge; knowledge is transferred between the university and firms, and all parties develop knowledge more effectively because of their symbiotic relationship. Theory and evidence support the belief that the geographic proximity that a science park provides for the participating organizations creates a dynamic cluster that accelerates economic growth and international competitiveness through the innovation- enabling exchanges of knowledge and the transfer of technologies. The process of creating innovations is more efficient because of the agglomeration of research and technology-based firms on or near a university campus. The proximity of a park to multiple sources of knowledge provides greater opportunities for the creation and acquisition of knowledge, especially tacit knowledge, and the geographic proximity therefore reduces the search and acquisition costs for that knowledge. The clustering of multiple research and technology-based organizations within a park enables knowledge spillovers, and with greater productivity from research resources and lower costs, prices for new technologies can be less and stimulate their use and regional development and growth. In addition to the clustering of the organizations within a park, the geographic proximity of universities affiliated with a park matters too. Evidence shows that a park’s employment growth is greater, other things being the same, when its affiliated university is geographically closer, although evidence suggests that effect has lessened in the 21st century because of the information and communications technology revolution. Also stimulating regional growth, university spin-off companies are more prevalent in a park when it is geographically closer to the affiliated university. The two-way flow of knowledge enabled by clusters of research and technology-based firms in science parks benefits firms located on the park and the affiliated universities. Understanding the mechanisms by which the innovative performance of research and technology-based organizations is increased by their geographic proximity in a science park is important for formulating public and private sector policies toward park formations because successful national innovation systems require the two-way knowledge flow, among firms in a park and between firms and universities, that is fostered by the science park infrastructure.” [ABSTRACT FROM AUTHORS]


Post-industrial globalization and local milieus: A typology

By: D. Guex, O. Crevoisier. Universität Bern, Center for Regional Economic Development, 2017.

Abstract: “In terms of regional development, let’s call the period up to 2008 the industrial age. Until then, the development of regions depended on their integration into globalization through production, and their positioning in the spatial division of labor: this illustrates the concept of competitiveness. Now, globalization also plays a role in terms of consumption. This dimension is discussed in the literature, for example by Markusen (Markusen, 2007, Markusen & Schrock, 2009) and the proponents of the so-called residential and presential economic trends in France (Davezies, 2009, Davezies & Talandier, 2016): this illustrates the concept of attractiveness. This research greatly improves the understanding of the current development processes of the regions insofar as it considers both consumption and productive flows. Nevertheless, the question of understanding the dynamics of development based on competitiveness and attractiveness still arises. This article proposes an analytical framework based on the idea put forward in Camagni’s (2005) conceptualization of the region as a meeting place for different supplies and demands. We propose a typology of income flows and regional and urban activities that considers local and extra-local demands, as well as local supply, firstly as a productive agglomeration and secondly as both a place of consumption and a living environment. The concept of an "innovative milieu" (e.g. clusters, industrial districts, etc.) allowed the industrial context to take into consideration local capacity for renewing competitiveness; we suggest that the "local post- industrial milieu" development model should encompass the capacity of a city or a region to manage tensions and to exploit the synergies between the various types of activities and people in the region which result from the integration of the region into various forms of globalization.” [ABSTRACT FROM AUTHORS]


Industrial Relatedness and Regional Resilience in the European Union

By: G. Cainelli, R. Ganau, M. Modica. Utrecht University, Urban & Regional research center Utrecht, Papers in Evolutionary Economic Geography No. 18.22, 2018.

Abstract: “The 2008 Great Recession prompted interest in the concept of regional resilience. This paper discusses and empirically investigates the relationship between industrial relatedness and economic resilience across European Union regions over the 2008-2012 crisis period. The analysis focuses on two types of industrial relatedness: technological and vertical (i.e. market-based). The empirical analysis is performed on a sample of 209 NUTS-2 regions in 16 countries. Our results highlight a positive effect of technological relatedness on the probability of resilience in the very short run (i.e. the 2008-2009 period), while the negative effect of vertical relatedness seems to persist for longer.” [ABSTRACT FROM AUTHORS]


Italian industrial districts: theories, profiles and competitiveness

By: D. Schiliro. University of Messima, Department of Economics, MPRA Paper No. 86729, 2018.

Abstract: “The paper is a contribution to the debate about the theoretical aspects, the structure, and the competitiveness of Italian industrial districts. The work first examines the theoretical strand on industrial districts ranging from Marshall to Becattini, and focusing on the contemporary distrettualism of Giacomo Becattini, where the district is essentially a socio-economic construct and an important localized productive system. Furthermore, the paper offers an updated picture of the Italian industrial districts as they are represented in the 2011 Census by the National Statistics Institute. Finally, this study underlines the resilient competitive capacity of this typical form of industrial organization. Then, through empirical literature, it analyzes the Italian district companies, and their performance and success in foreign markets, especially with regard to “Made in Italy” products.” [ABSTRACT FROM AUTHOR]


Knowledge exchange in clusters: The contingent role of regional inventive concentration

By: A. Vestal, E. Danneels. Research Policy (article in press), 2018.

Abstract: “Geographic clusters confer advantages to collocated firms, in particular access to local know-how. This article argues that the access to local know-how is contingent on the extent to which inventive activity is concentrated in the cluster. We draw on sociological theories of generalized exchange to argue that contrasting logics of exchange emerge in geographic clusters that have opposing effects on the extent to which firms benefit from collaborating with local organizations and source local knowledge. A longitudinal data set of 1903 firms engaged in nanotechnology research is used to examine the relationship between firm co-authorships on scientific articles with firms and public research organizations (PROs) and firm inventive performance. Results indicate that when cluster-level firm inventive concentration is high, collaborations with local firms are associated with lower inventive performance. We also find that firms source less local knowledge for their own inventions when firm inventive concentration is high. In contrast, concentrated inventive activity among PROs increases the positive relationship between collaborations with local PROs and firm inventive performance. Results also show firms source more knowledge from local PROs when local PRO inventive concentration is high. The findings suggest that inventive concentration both helps and hinders spill-over of cutting-edge knowledge.” [ABSTRACT FROM AUTHORS]